About 69% of people say that their stress increases during the holidays. Some of the stressors are crowds and long queues that gain weight, get into debt and lack time. There are others, of course, but they are above.
Ironically, the coping strategies that people use to deal with stress during the holidays are food and alcohol – which of course can aggravate your weight gain.
So let’s take a look at 6 tips to minimize the holiday damage to your diet.
Exercise is very important because it’s a stress breaker. If you can continue your training throughout the Christmas season, you will feel much better and may not have to eat or drink as much.
Try training early in the morning – before someone in your family gets up. Fewer demands on you will help you maintain your workout first.
If that doesn’t work for you, try the BTN tactic: Better Than Nothing. BTN trainings are short – p
But! To make it useful, it needs to be physiologically meaningful. You have to combine the short duration with intervals of high intensity. This approach is consistent with research that shows that high intensity interval training is effective – some say it’s much more effective than a longer, slower cardio.
Sample format: Warm up for 3 minutes — 1 minute light, 1 minute slightly harder, 1 minute slightly harder. The rest revolves around intervals and recovery. Try 40 seconds very intense, with only 20 seconds of partial recovery. Keep this going for the remaining 7 minutes.
If 40 seconds are too long, try 30 seconds very hard, with 30 seconds recovery. If exercise is new to you, make your work interval 20 seconds and your recovery 40 seconds.
Think of the old Nike slogan and “Just do it”!
Surviving in the Office
Avoid the break room! Every office is different, but the question is this: Where do they keep their Christmas presents? Keep out of this area as much as you can.
Never miss out on meals in an attempt to avoid calories on a party day. This is just a binge waiting to happen. Eat as usual to avoid overdoing it when you’re at the party and facing all the temptations.
Eat something before you go. The best choice would be protein foods (some chicken, turkey, fish or other protein you have at hand).
When you come to the buffet, give yourself a full serving of protein first. That would be 3 to 4 ounces of turkey, ham, whatever the buffet meal includes.
Next, cover at least half of your plate with vegetables. Naked vegetables taste best with sauce as a side dish or at least with the clearer sauces or dressings.
Finally, choose the little treat you want. Don’t waste calories on food you can get at any time. Do you really need another roll? Instead, save the calories for one of Aunt Mildred’s fantastic cranberry muffins.
Now get away from the buffet! Don’t eat your meal while you look at everything you haven’t taken. Just concentrate on what you have.
The most helpful order would be to start (and finish) your protein first. It will change your brain chemistry so that you actually want less food.
Next, fill up on vegetables; they are low in calories. Finally, take the big muffin.
Bonus Tip: Limit yourself to one treat per Christmas dinner. If you can conjure up real inner strength, limit yourself to one treat per day!
Avoid alcohol if possible. It changes brain chemistry in a way that makes you eat more food – and junkier food.
If you drink alcohol, change 1 alcoholic drink – wine, beer or mixed drink – with 1 glass of mineral water (or ordinary cold water). Keep the change throughout the evening.
Meal Control as Survival
If you’re in control of the meal plan, take the chance.
“Bring a dish” is a great invitation for you to put together a delicious vegetable plate or salad. If you are asked to bring a dessert, bring fruit and nuts.
Many guests will appreciate it. It’s just not true that everyone gets the highest fat choice or the most decadent dessert when they have the choice.
If you have control over meals at home, consider changing all recipes throughout the season. Everyone has a great recipe for mashed potatoes, for example, but you can replace chicken stock with butter or cream. Cutting butter and sugar in half in other recipes will almost certainly be unnoticed by your family.
And avoid glazing vegetables or fruits. This only adds unnecessary sugar.
These are just a few helpful tips for surviving holiday parties and dinners with less damage, less weight gain, and less stress.